Cloudland Canyon 50K Race Recap Super long sorry. Friday night, as expected, I did not sleep much. It was about 2 hours and then I laid in bed and rested another 2 hours. At 2:30 am (just like a Disney race) it was time to get up. With Mallory we thought it would be easier to go up that morning than try and get a hotel room. That was a good decision. We were on the road at 3:15 am. It took 2 hours, we had some rain to deal with and concerned it would turn to freezing rain because it was cold and got colder as we went north. I had plenty of time as the race started at 7:30 and I had a crew car so I did not have to shuttle. Race start the temps were 28ish and real feel of 18. It was cold and windy, but no rain. I was wearing 2 layers of warm thick tights (I hate doing that but I knew the temps would not increase till much later in the day). I was planning that I could drop a pair of tights at an aid station if it warmed up. I had on a base layer t shirt, my warmest long sleeve top, a wind jacket, gloves, my fleece buff and a windproof beanie. It was insane, but since I had a car I did not have to stand around outside too long before the start. The race ended up starting closer to 7:45. There were 195 people who started. I went straight to the back as we had to go single file to get on the trail. My first mile was pretty slow because I spent most of it walking. Lots of people started stepping off to remove clothes but I was not one of them. I had 9.7 miles to the first aid station. I think in that time there was quite a bit of gain in the first 6 miles. I walked when the people in front of me did and I started going around people but I was trying to be conservative. Bert was expecting me in about 2 hours, and at this point I hit mile 8 on my watch in about 1:55 so I knew I was slower than I wanted but was still pleased with my slightly better than 4 miles per hour. I made to the aid station about 2 hours and 15 minutes in. Aid station 1. I really did not do much. It was cold and early in the race so I still had plenty of water in my bottle and plenty of infinite in my other bottle (I struggle with nutrition and today was no different but I tried to hit the infinite earlier than usual). The only thing I did was blow my nose, and then changed my hat to my ball cap to block the sun. I was going to change my buff to the lighter one and change to a different beanie, but Bert suggested to put the ball cap on so I had sun cover and keep the heavier buff to keep my head warm as I pulled it up over my head. That was a good call. I gave Mallory some pets and off I went. Mallory at aid station 1. The aid station helped spread people out so I had a bit more solitude from here to the next aid station at mile 17.4. The trail was less technical and not as much climbing as the first section. This section was much easier. Here I packman chomped people. Honestly it was kind of impressive as I would see no one and then on some turns would see people way ahead of me and thought nope won’t ever catch them but I did. My miles here were a bit faster they were averaging 13 minute miles in this section. Around mile 13 I started losing steam, so I took a gel. I was hitting the infinite, but now I knew I needed my nutrition I just did not want to take it. The one thing I do remember is around mile 16 going down and going down and all I was thinking ugh I am sure to get to the aid station I must climb out of this valley. That is exactly what happened and at that point was probably my longest walking section. It was pretty steep, but I knew once I climbed out, I would hit aid station 2. At the aid station 2 I needed stuff. Bert was able to park and then set Mallory up and take the big gym bag with all my stuff. Thank you @camaker for the tip to put stuff in gallon size ziplock baggies. I told Bert I needed to change shirts both short and long sleeve. He was able to pull the two shirt bags right out without digging around. I changed shirts and gloves, I blew my nose (I had a cold so my nose was running a lot and also snot rocketing), and Bert filled my water bottle and my infinite bottle (I went through about ¾ of it by now). It was warming up, so I changed my heavy buff for a normal weight one. I was concerned it would still be to warm but I knew the next section of the trail would be very technical which would mean a lot of walking and I was afraid I would get cold. Because of the walking I decided not to take off the second pair of tights. I thought about getting food but I could not eat. I wish I had a pic of Mallory when I came to see her she was up and so happy. She was getting a lot of attention from people. She was having a great day. Here comes the fun part. I had hiked most of the race ahead of time that would start here. I was glad I knew how technical and challenging it would be. I got to mile 18 and that meant 12 miles to go. It was at the top of the canyon which meant the drop in was coming and you must climb out. At 18, I was 4:32 minutes in. I had 12 miles to go, if I could hold on to 4 miles an hour that would put me in at 7:32, I knew I would be a little slower (did not expect as slow as I was going to be) but I thought I might make that 8 hour goal. Time to drop. The good thing is at mile 18 the race was spaced out, it also warmed up so that the stairs were not icy, except one tiny section. I knew I would take the stairs slowly, but I was ok with that. The bad thing about being at mile 18 is you had a lot of stairs to go down and my legs were kind of thrashed at that point. The next aid station was all the way at the bottom at mile 20.5 and my crew could not be there (Bert and Mallory moved from aid station 2 to the finish which was right around the corner from the aid station). After navigating the steps and the water crossing, I tried to run as much as I could because I knew going up, I would have to walk. At this time, I was getting warm and took off my gloves. I was also getting hungry. I made it to the aid station just over an hour after I left aid station 2. Aid station 3, I was hungry. I had a volunteer put my gloves in my pack and then fill up my water bottle, I had about half and thought I better refill (glad I did that). I ate some PB and J and then I found some glorious quesadillas. They were grilling them it was basically quesadilla with Kraft Singles cheese in the middle, but it tasted wonderful. I ate two (they were quartered though I did not care I was starving and had 10 miles to go) and took two more and left the aid station. I wanted to be moving and eating. I finished up food and chased some water and started running. I knew to run as much as I could in this section as it was still fairly flat and I knew I would be climbing soon. Bottom of the canyon. It was pretty but now I wanted to be done and I had 10 HARD miles to go. i was trying so hard to smile. The next aid station was at mile 25. 5 after climbing out of the canyon it was on to the western rim trail. I hiked this early and remember thinking OMG how am I going to run this? The answer to that is I am not. Starting about mile 22.5 I walked. I was with 2 other guys walking. We occasionally leap frogged going down and up the canyon, but after the stair climb out, we just walked and talked. They would pull ahead of me a little and then I would run a bit to catch them when I could. Finally, about mile 23.5 one wanted to run and then the other must have to. I lost them. I was alone. My back hurt a lot, my left hip flexor was hurting. I had two miles to the aid station. I could not run it was so technical and I was so tired that I just walked. I wanted to run so I could finish, because I wanted to be done, but I was afraid I would fall. I walked and then people came from behind about 6 people came by and passed me. I could do nothing but move out of the way and let them by. I was deflated at this point and wanted it to be over. I was close to the aid station but not there yet. I kept walking, I knew at this point my 8 hour goal was sunk, but I thought I could still finish in the time limit of 10 hours. I was not upset about missing the 8 hour goal, but the thought of 2 more hours on the trail was killing me. I had spent the last 3.5 miles just walking, I was not sure I would even be able to run anymore at this point. The aid station was in sight and the ground was flat and easy, so I ran for 30 yards to get to the aid station. My watch said 7:10. The guy checking people in said you have 4.2 miles to go. I thought OMG I have 2 more hours of this and then he said this. IT IS ALL PAVEMENT THE REST OF THE WAY. The sky turned bright and I heard the Hallelujah Choir. I was going to get to run the last 4 miles on pavement. My joy was not because I might be close to 8 hours but because I thought on pavement, I could manage 4 miles per hour and finish in an hour. I had plowed through all my water and some infinite. I topped both bottles with water. I got a few more quesadillas to go and started walking. I ate, I drank water and then I ran. I was hoping to be close to 8 (still thinking I would not make it) but I did not care I was just happy to run. I could see people ahead of me, but they were up there. I did not care. I ran that first mile on pavement in 10:30. I was so happy. Then I started picking off the people who passed me. I do think they spent a little more time at the aid station than me, but I wanted to finish. At this point I was finally warm and took my buff off. Then next mile had a little climb, so I did walk but I think I had passed 3 people at this point and my next mile was 11 minutes. It flattened out and I kept running and now I had people to packman chomp. The next person I passed was one of the guys I was walking with out of the canyon. He was like you go with that power as I passed right by him. I did chat a little, but it made me feel so strong. I passed another person and then I passed the other guy I was walking with. Again, I said some encouraging words and kept going. This next mile was 9:30. I was like what, I ran mile 29 in 9:30. I had a mile to go. I passed people, then I had to make a turn and go up a hill. I did walk but I was about to catch the last of the people who went by me on the trail. I could see the finish. It was still a little climb, but I was running. I finished strong. Lots of people commented how good I looked. I guess walking miles 22.5 to mile 25.5 allowed me to run faster at the end or I was just glad to be on pavement. I managed to scream out those last 4 miles and finish in 7:47:25. I could not believe I hit my goal and at mile 25 never thought that would happen. Summary: I hurt a lot. My nutrition sucked as expected. It was cold. I wore 2 pairs of tights the entire time but when I was walking, I was glad I had them on. I only got warm at the end and that was because I was running. At mile 25 just before the aid station, I was done. I wanted it to be over. I wanted to finish, change and just head home. The only redeeming thing was the last 4 miles. I ran them tough. I signed up for the trail race after hiking the AT last summer in Georgia. I had so much fun hiking I thought let me combine my loves and try trail racing. I won’t say I will never do it again and I think 15k trail races I may occasionally do. However, I don’t have a lot of desire to run a long-distance trail race again. I did not want to stop and enjoy the views, I wanted to finish. I had a hard time with nutrition verses hiking I have no issues stopping to take in a view or stopping to eat. Also, with hiking I don’t feel like I am going to die in terms of falling. I spent most of the trail running looking down, so I did not fall. I think about how happy I was to be running on pavement. To be honest, now I am super jazzed to hopefully be running Boston in 2020. I tried it but not my cup of tea. Mallory had a great time so that was good. We had her very tired out with no sleeping that day it was too exciting. She gets two feedings at night and this was her after the first one. TL;DR: My Garmin clocked 29.5 miles. I had 4,167 feet of elevation gain. I finished in 7:47:25 officially, Garmin moving time was 7:26:33. I think I will stick to shorter trail races and pavement. I love road running.